Oncology Rounds

The latest news and research on cancer care from the Oncology Roundtable.

Cone Health increases lung screening volumes nearly five-fold by expanding navigation

Deirdre Saulet December 4, 2018

Navigators are an increasingly essential component of a comprehensive, patient-centered cancer program. However, given their expansive—and often poorly defined—role, it can be difficult to track their direct impact on quality and financial outcomes. But that's exactly what Cone Health Cancer Center-Alamance Regional in North Carolina has done since using Oncology Roundtable resources to help them add a second lung cancer navigator. Keep reading to see how Cone Health made the case and tracked the downstream impact—to the tune of an estimated $750,000 in additional revenue per year.

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4 takeaways for cancer programs from the 2019 HOPPS final rule and HHS announcements

Deirdre Saulet November 19, 2018

October and November have been action-packed when it comes to oncology reimbursement news. In the span of two weeks, CMS released its final regulations for payments to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), and HHS announced its intent to create mandatory payment reform pilots for Part B drug pricing and radiation oncology. This year's HOPPS rule is relatively uneventful compared with last year, but there are still significant changes every program needs to be aware of, in addition to the implications of the new payment reform pilots.

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Your 4-step guide to prepare for a mandatory radiation oncology bundle

Deirdre Saulet November 13, 2018

Way back in 2015, the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act set the stage for a radiation oncology alternative payment model (APM). It froze payments for freestanding radiation therapy services until January 1, 2019, at which point CMS, Congress, and the provider community were supposed to agree to an alternative APM.

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What's the future of prostate cancer volumes?

by Deirdre Saulet and Kate Wister November 5, 2018

Three years ago, we discussed "Why your prostate cancer volumes are declining." Today, programs still grapple to plan accurately for prostate cancer volumes, especially given recent changes in USPSTF screening recommendations and the growing trend of active surveillance.

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Hospital-based vs. freestanding chemo: A close look at Medicare costs

Deirdre Saulet , Ashley Riley October 22, 2018

The difference in costs between hospital-based and freestanding or private practice settings is one of the hottest topics in cancer care—and health care more broadly. It's a complex issue that is fraught with tension. Here, we review the latest studies comparing Medicare chemotherapy costs in these two settings and what hospital-based infusion centers must do to succeed in the future.

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New research says survivorship care plans often fall short. Here are 3 ways to do better.

by Deirdre Saulet and Sarah Adam September 24, 2018

As the number of patients surviving cancer increases, so does the urgency to provide high-quality care to this population. Survivorship care plans (SCPs) have become a common—and, for programs accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), required—tool that programs create for patients who have completed active treatment.

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We asked, you answered: Cancer program leaders' top priorities

by Deirdre Saulet and Ashley Riley September 10, 2018

Every year, we survey cancer program leaders nationwide about their top priorities to help shape our upcoming research agenda. This year, we asked you to rank your top five topics from a list of 19.

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Immunotherapy: What patients are hearing—and how to guide their expectations

by Deirdre Saulet and Mallory Kirby August 27, 2018

Editor's note: This popular blog was republished on Oct. 2, 2018.

With over two thousand new immunotherapy agents in clinical and pre-clinical development and the expanding adoption of newly approved treatments, such as CAR T-cell therapy, cancer patients are inundated with promises of new "miracle" drugs. While dramatic advancements in our understanding about cancer biology and treatment are touted in the media, research from Cardinal Health suggests that only 40% of oncologists see precision medicine as a game-changer, while 57% of oncologists believe that it's too soon to predict the long-term impact of precision medicine.

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